DeAngelis takes shine to Saskatchewan

Calgary Stampeders Sandro DeAngelis during CFL action at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on Wednesday,...

Calgary Stampeders Sandro DeAngelis during CFL action at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on Wednesday, July 1, 2009. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:53 PM ET

REGINA - When Sandro DeAngelis left the Calgary Stampeders in 2010 to head home, he never thought he would end up with the enemy.

Funny how things work out in the CFL.

Through his first five seasons in the league, DeAngelis was a money kicker for the Stamps, even being named the Grey Cup most outstanding Canadian in 2008.

The choice to join the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as a free agent for the 2010 campaign didn’t work out as expected.

After his worst CFL season, the Niagara Falls, Ont., native was released. He spent last year on the Montreal Alouettes reserve list, providing insurance for Sean Whyte, but found himself without a job this spring when camps opened.

Chris Milo struggled with the Saskatchewan Roughriders to start his second pro season, so the Riders called upon the kicker who is still the most accurate in CFL history.

So, it’s sort of fitting that when DeAngelis suits up for his first home game with the Riders, he’s facing the Stampeders.

“I always enjoyed the passion here,” said the 31-year-old DeAngelis, who played the last two road games with the Riders, making three of four field-goal attempts.

“Whenever we played here as a visitor, the fans had such passion. It was a lot of fun. They threw insults at you. They were always educated insults.

“Now, hopefully they won’t be insulting me. It’s a fun place to play. It’s really my favourite place to play in this league, because it meant so much to these people.”

DeAngelis and Montreal Alouettes kicker Damon Duval came into the league around the same time and both raised the bar for accuracy in the CFL.

Both set career averages in the mid-80% range, which was previously unheard of in this league.

Now, DeAngelis’ all-time mark of 82.7% will be challenged by a few youngsters. Winnipeg’s Justin Palardy (82%) and Calgary’s Rene Paredes (81.7%) will keep him on his toes once they get the minimum of 200 field-goal tries.

Tiger-Cats kicker Luca Congi has also raised his lifetime mark to 80%.

Sitting and watching last year was tough on DeAngelis. He didn’t get a chance to erase memories of 2010 with the Ticats.

“I’m just happy to be playing again,” DeAngelis said. “Last year, not playing was difficult. I took the best situation I could and tried to get better in every way that I could.

“Hopefully, this is where I was supposed to be.”


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